CANTON, Texas - As tornadoes passed through North Texas Thursday afternoon, Canton in Van Zandt County seemed to have been hit the hardest.
The severe weather hit Canton just ahead of First Monday Trade Days. Fortunately, there are no reports of serious injuries.
The East Texas town was hit by one confirmed tornado and up to three reported tornadoes. They took down trees and power lines and structures.
As the storm sirens went off for the third time, Kevin Deibert with Mr. D’s gas station in downtown Canton welcomed people inside his business to seek shelter.
The gas station owner says the first possible tornado to touch down in their small town ripped the tree out of his backyard around 3:30. p.m. The storms sent a carport flying into a tree in another neighborhood, tore roofs off houses, took down fences and tangled metal siding.
“We’re okay because everybody’s okay,” Deibert said.
Most of the damage was done by the second reported tornado that came through around 5 p.m. It concentrated its destruction downtown at the intersection of 64 and 19, where Mr. D’s gas station got torn apart.
Deibert says his two employees sought shelter in the women’s bathroom and came outside after the storm had passed to see people rushing to help make sure everyone was okay, and then clear debris.
“We’ve gone through this a lot. We had a major tornado outbreak two years ago, so we all kind of know what to do,” Deibert said. “There were people out in the streets ten minutes after this with tractors getting debris out of it, so everybody just pitches in. Everybody is a big help.”
Just a few blocks south of downtown Canton at Main and College, city crews worked overtime to clear trees from people’s homes and roads in the neighborhood.
Residents say they could feel ears popping as the wind literally sucked out away from their homes.
At Billy Bateman’s home, his mom’s car was flattened when it was crushed by a tree. His mom, Linda Myers went to his house because it was safer than her mobile home.
The storm ripped a couple of big pecan trees down on either side of Bateman’s house. A couple of windows were blown out, but they were in their safe spot weren’t injured. They said it was a very bizarre feeling as it passed over.
“It wasn’t super loud, but you could just hear a crunching,” Bateman recalled. “And you could feel like suction — like literally feel it like it was sucking outwards.”
“My sister in law was hovered over us, and I saw the door moving,” Myers recalled. “And I had ahold of her arm and I was like, ‘Lord, please don’t suck her out.’ Because for a minute it was just so strong. It was like going in and out, but thankfully the door didn’t open and we were all good in the halls.”
There were no reports of serious injuries. The National Weather Service will determine how many tornadoes touched down in Canton.